Cybersecurity Month: Airline Scams


(NEWS10) – Travel scams are some of the most popular online scams right now, taking advantage of people’s desire to get away for a couple of days. One of the top scams in this umbrella is airline scams. You can easily fall prey to airline scams by simply looking for free airline tickets.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FREE AIRLINE TICKETS. Unless you’re a frequent work traveler and receive bonus miles if someone offers you free airline tickets it means you’re looking at the latest airline scam.

Most of the time scammers target Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp or any other social media app.

Generally, this is a sweepstakes scam that says the airline company is having an anniversary and giving away free airline tickets. It is designed to trick you, oftentimes using logos associated with a reputable company to lull you into trusting the deal. The scams are designed to trick you into completing numerous surveys, then sharing them with your friends.

Here’s what to look out for to avoid an airline scam:

  • Check verification: Make sure the page you are seeing the deal on is “verified.” On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram there will be a little blue checkmark next to their username. If it does not have this check it is not an official page for the legitimate airline company.
  • Study the deal: Look over the post if you notice misspellings or strange phrasing that is a huge red flag.
  • Asking to take a survey: If the post asks to take a survey to get the deal it is most certainly a scam.
  • Asking to share with friends: If the post asks you to share this with your friends this is another sign that this is a scam.

Even if you avoided the free airline ticket scam there is another way you can have your information stolen. Heavily discounted tickets is another scam to look for when booking airfare. They will use similar tactics to the free ticket scam but can also get your information through surveys and bilk you out of money.

One of the most common airline scams is a survey promoting “Ryanair anniversary free tickets”. However, this survey is not hosted on Facebook or the official Ryanair websites. It’s on a website filled to the brim with cybersecurity risks which can affect both your data and your money.

A lot of the time after you complete the survey you will be redirected to another website informing you that you have won nothing.

These surveys can give cybercriminals a host of personal information like your name, address, favorite past times and possibly a password. You are now vulnerable to social engineering or even “lifejacking“.

More information on “lifejacking” can be found here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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